The effects of COVID-19 on global male sex work populations

The challenge: 

Social distancing has profound implications for sex and intimacy. Sex workers risk both their own health and the health of their clients through the potential transmission of COVID-19, but they are not entitled to any income support if they cease sex work.

The project: 

We have established a method of surveillance of online activity of male sex workers.

The method: 

We analysed data from a large international male sex work website.

The results: 

Male sex work activity online has decreased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discontinuation of in-person sex work was the most common risk reduction strategy.

The impact: 

Targeted COVID-19 outreach is needed to support sex workers. State aid is needed for sex workers who have lost their income.

Project contact: 
Professor and Program Head
Senior Research Fellow
Project supporters: 

Funded in-house, using a data extraction tool developed with a previous ARC grant.

Project collaborators: 
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